New Car Buying Tips

New Car Buying Tips

So you've decided to shop for a new car--good for you! Today's technology makes the process faster and easier than ever before. By following these seven steps, you'll be well on your way to getting behind the wheel of your new ride.

1. Shop Online at
Check out to determine which model is best for your lifestyle – Minivan, SUV, Sedan, Pickup, Crossover or something else. You can also determine what equipment is standard and what’s optional. If safety is a high priority, check out the vehicles that offer new technology like 360-degree object detection, lane departure warning and low-speed automatic braking, and intelligent cruise control, for example.

Find out what you may expect to pay by comparing same vehicles offered by multiple dealerships in your area. This is extremely valuable information to have before you sit down and negotiate a deal. Also, check out our vehicle reviews on our Buyer's Guide to familiarize yourself with your dream car specifications.

2. Compare Trade-in Values Prior to Visiting the Dealership
Is it realistic to expect full retail trade-in value for your vehicle? Probably not – check out our Market Value Estimator to get a sense as to how much you can expect from a trade-in. Remember to be honest regarding your mileage and condition of your vehicle.

“Some people view their trade-in with rose-colored glasses,” said a dealer who asked for anonymity. “Pretty much most trades that come through need tires, a fair amount of reconditioning, plus they have dings, dents and scratches. We look at $1,000 to $1,500 for reconditioning to get the car ready for resale,” he said. “They are not going to receive the retail price for their trade-in.”

3. The "Sell It Now" Option is a Great Negotiating Tool
CarSoup’s Sell It Now option lets dealers bid on your vehicle. You type in the model name, mileage, condition and then select local dealers to bid on your vehicle. They will either make an instant cash offer on the vehicle or offer a guaranteed trade-in price contingent on an in-person inspection.

Typically, the price offered is a little bit lower than what might be expected, but there is a convenience factor. The seller is guaranteed to receive at least that much for the vehicle, and that is an offer that can be used by the seller when the dealer determines the trade-in value that will be applied to the new car or truck. The seller decides whether to accept the new car dealer’s trade-in offer, sell the car for the instant cash offer, or try to negotiate a higher price with another dealer for the trade-in. The Sell It Now prices effectively set a floor on your car’s value.

4. Go For a Test Drive
Smart buyers will always check out the vehicle in person. “People will shop quite a bit on the internet, they will do a lot of that research ahead of time, but you still have to see if you fit in the car,” the dealer said. “You have to drive it. The seats have to feel good, it’s got to be tailored to your back, your torso. Sometimes the seating positions don’t work for some people and they have to find a different model. It is such a personal choice.”

5. Get Pre-Approved Financing
Whether you're buying new or used, connects you to dealers and lenders who can provide financing options designed just for you. With short applications and convenient pre-approval you'll be in and out of the dealership fast.

6. How are the Dealer Ratings and Reviews?
Getting close to finalizing your purchase? You’ve pinpointed a dealership – but how do they rate in terms of consumer reviews? Go to Dealer section and examine their ratings/reviews.

7. The Final Price
Whether you’re dealing with a one price “no hassle” dealership or with a more traditional “negotiating” seller, you’ll need to keep an acceptable price range in mind. Contacting multiple dealers can whittle the price down, but you also need to keep in mind the value of your time… and the dealer’s.

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